You should make sure someone knows where you’re going, when you’ll be back, and when to worry about you.  I know that sounds obvious, but there are constant articles about rescues that either didn’t need to happen or started too late, and this type planning can help with that.

Folks who go out on the ocean seem to understand this; a boat/kayak trip plan is called a “Float Plan”. The US Coast Guard and Sea Kayaker both have online versions of a float plan available.  I like Sea Kayaker Magazine’s version:

Using that float plan, I hacked together one for people to use:  It’s meant to be filled out and left with a person responsible for making sure you get back.  That could easily be a family member or friend, especially if you’re travelling locally, but could also be someone who is officially responsible, say the staff at a State or National park.  If you’re traveling in the backcountry and hand the site manager/Ranger a plan such as this, they’ll recognize two things: you care about their time and are probably a competent, experienced traveler.  That can go a long way towards opening up conversation – they may tell you about a hard to get to spot that is well worth the effort.

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